“I tried to make sure that I didn't use the sounds that are on trend,” Marca MP lead vocalist Chato tells Apple Music about LEALTAD. “It costs me so much time and effort and dedication.” Indeed, at a time when artists are tempted to chase fleeting virality, the originality represented by the young Californian música mexicana act’s growing discography offers a sense of permanence. Having broken out in 2019 via some Grupo Firme collaborations, Chato’s project continued to make a name for itself with notable, popular records that seemingly sought to stand the test of time. Even with lineup changes over the years, he’s stayed committed to this artistic vision up to and through this latest effort. “I felt like I was loyal to the sound of what Marca MP is.” Of the 10 original tracks that make up LEALTAD, seven of them were penned by Chato himself. “There's a song for every occasion,” he says. “There's no songs that are just talking about the same thing.” The variety of the material here, from romantic ballads to rousing corridos, bears the distinct hallmarks of what fans have come to expect from Marca MP. Yet these songs didn’t come with particular ease. For a lengthy period of time, beginning in 2022, he felt creatively blocked, unable to write songs he considered worth recording. Thankfully, he experienced something of a breakthrough in the latter half of 2023. “Before, when I wanted to make a song, I would take a day or two,” he says. “Most of these songs, they were coming out in an hour, an hour and a half.” Below, read an interview with Chato, in which he discusses the making of and motivations behind LEALTAD. Unlike some of your recent Marca MP projects, LEALTAD has only 10 songs. Was that an intentional choice from the start, to have a tighter project, or did things evolve as you were making the record? It evolved as I was making the album, to be honest. I wanted it to be more of a EP. On the past albums, I was doing too much. I feel like some songs were not paid too much attention to; they didn't get that recognition that I thought that they were going to get. Little by little, the songs just started piling up. None of these songs were released as singles prior to LEALTAD’s release. Why did you choose that approach here? I haven't been that type, to release the single, and then release the other single, and then make it into an album. I feel like that decreases the meaning of an album. Before, I would tease the songs a lot more. Now, I just want the fans to enjoy the drop, enjoy the release, enjoy the songs one by one. And I feel like that's better. In making LEALTAD, was there any one particular song that opened the floodgates creatively for you? The first one, which is my favorite, “Tenis Balenciaga.” It was a breakthrough. You know when you see a cloud and it's raining, and then out of nowhere the sun comes out? That's how I felt, the process of making it and then the lyrics and even the production, hearing everything put together. My plan was for maybe five, six songs, and literally I got 10 and it's even better. Corridos have been a core part of the Marca MP catalog. Is there any one of them that you feel really stands out for you on LEALTAD? All of the corridos that are on here, I feel like they represent all of Marca MP. But there’s one that personally I didn't like, I didn't even want to release it, “El Joven.” I found it so simple. The guys in the group, they were telling me, “Hey, this song slaps.” But personally, if I don't like my song, I won't put effort or I won't go more forward into it. We recorded it at practice on the phone, and then we would play it in the truck and everyone would be excited. I decided to record it. Because they wanted to. I was like, maybe we can add something different. In the practice, I was playing the guitar, but I was like, what if I hop off the guitar and we just do charchetas and tuba and tololoche? We recorded it like that, and once I heard it, I started liking it. The charchetas fit in perfect.

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